Monday, June 25, 2012

Just over a month in.

Made it today to Gunnison, Ut for a break in the afternoon in their library. Backtrack to leaving Bill's in Mesquite. I traveled to Littlefield, Arizona, a very small town where I slept behind what I thought (and what my GPS told me was a Catholic Church. Turns out it was a boarded up Elementary school. Good thing it was closed or at least summer time. I quickly cleared out of there. I went to a rest stop where I stayed out of the sun for a few hours and tried to get food a a restaurant but the owner didn't want me there saying they were closing at 1 and when I got out my phone to look at the time saw it was 12:25 he quickly said we're closed today so I left. Worked out for the best. Went back to the rest stop and as it got hotter I went into the bar next door for some AC, a corn dog, and a soda. Met some of the locals including Barry, and the "Amuck sisters" two close friends Dorie and Dorthy know for the good fun chaos.
     Went the back way to St. George, UT and entered into a new time zone. Desolate road. Between boredom and probably more delirium from lack of sleep, I became thoroughly convinced I was Mario, and my only goal was to get the next "flag" the next mile marker on the road. I also a while back named the stroller Nacho. He won't talk back but whenever I yell at him I hear mariacchi music. In St. George thanks to Dixie MAdsen at Intermountain Donor Services I got a hotel. Took an offnight (which still meant walking a sixmile round trip to Walmart to load back up on supplies). Ate at a Denny's and demolished just under 12 pancakes. Got a new pair of shoes (3rd total pair) cause my feet were wrecked (held onto the others cause I can still get more miles in them but my feet needed a more comfortable pair for a while.
     That night I ran with Cory Reese and Ryan Duckworth, an awesome 100miler ultramarathoner, and great triathlete respectively.  I ran with them towards Hurricane and they turned around after about 8 miles back to their cars. Cory drove by and comes with In-N-OutBurger some snacks and later invited me to crash at his for the night for a shower, bed, and some great home-cooked food. I had a great experience with the run with those guys, and with Cory's family, his wife, two daughters, and son. His daughter also wrote me a note which is probably the single greatest thing I've receive so far. It reads  "Dear Chris, my name is Danica and I believe that you will be able to finish your race. I'm glad that you are able to stay with us. I am so sorry that you aren't able to sleep on a nice comfy bed like you did last night. Thank you so much for caring so much about your brother and running so long for him. I hope you will keep this note as long as you live. From Danica." Cory also has a blog and wrote a story about it. Check it out and also his other awesome posts!
   The next night it was time to continue on. I was stopped in the middle of the night by Crystal who supported the cause and offered me a free breakfast the next day at wildcat Willie's om Springdale. Slept in the park there with permission through Tom Dansie who also got me a dinner the next night. Had a great breakfast at Wildcat's and the waiters and waitresses there even pulled together to donate to help the cause.
   After that still on a nocturnal schedule I passed through Zion Park. Was not able to get permission through the tunnels so got two rides. The first was extremely important and a great encounter. Will, Mike, and Trevor gave me a ride through and well after they had dropped me off right out of the tunnel I realized my CamelBak was gone. This essential item has kept me hydrated and made it easier to have a larger quantity of water out of the gas tank, quickly accessible. Later on that night after leaving the park a car passed by me and about 30 yeards up had to stop as a herd of buffalo were in the middle of the orad. It stood there and had to honk to get them to pass wide enough to clear the road. I stood there for a minute thinking they would hopefully leave but they didn't so I slowly walked through the middle of them with their large eyes glowing and fixed on me. Slept outside a church by Orderville.
           After at best 5 hours of sleep got up and got myself right into a day schedule of running/walking. Made it to a rest stop to avoid some of the heat where I heard someone say my name and I look up and see Will and Mike who found me MILES up 89 to return  my Camelbak. Such a crazy aweosme act of kindness on their part to go so far out of their way to find me and to return it.  Made it to Hatch, slept behind a church.
   Next day feet were in pain so I limped on towards Panguitch. MEt Donny and Darron who worked next door and they helped me out with the tires. Both were awesome people but Donnie was the man for helping me to get a hotel for free at the Horizon Motel as well as a dinner and breakfast at the Flying M next door. He was someone who just went so far out of his way to help me that I was stunned by his charitable heart and goodness. He also gave me the number of a guy up at Circleville (Hometown of Butch Cassidy) where I was able to get in contact with a guy who also offered a free motel room. With the guy up there Mike though I felt like I was a burden to him (something I never want to feel). It was a difficult situation in that I owed it to Donny for all of his help to let him know I was safe so I took the room but skipped on the breakfast Mike had offered the next day there.
   Next I went to Junction where my new great friend Junction had told me to get into contact with the Reber's. I had lunch with them spend a lot of time talking with them, got a shower, and took a nap before continuing on. The lasting impression I will have of them is of their tremendous love for one another and for the family. I will especially remember Jim talking of his time spend at a base in California during the Korean War. Whenever he would have 72 hour breaks he would hitchhike about two-thirds of that time roundtrip to see Dee whom he later married. He said he enver has felt so tired as he did during those times, which often meant walking for miles in the desert to an interesection, but he said every second was worth it. I still saw that love they had for each other during my brief afternoon I spent with them. Continued to Joseph. Was going to sleep behind one church but when I got there it said no trespassing violators will be prosecuted. Laid down for a few minutes but got up and left continuing forwards. Found another churhc and slet in the  dirt behind it. Next day went towards Richfield. Before getting to down I got hionked at by a lot of cars so decided I probably did not want to spend the night in town there. Slept behind a church on the outskirts. Got up the next morning and decided it would be better to find a different church so I found and went to the Sevier valley Baptist Church. Members Ann, Sue, And Karen went out to lunch with me to McDonald's after and Ann bought me lunch. I later went back to the park where I had an odd encounter and made me decide to hightail it out of there. I made it to Salina where at a gas station,  man, James gave me a donation enough to cover a slightly reduced rate at the Ranch Motel there. Based on some odd experiences earlier that day I felt that night safer in a motel which ended up being free through this.
   Been trying to spread the message of organ donation as best as possible. Hopefully by the time I hit a 1,000 miles I'll be able to get more press for it. It is amazing that just about every single day I meet someone who is personally, or has good freinds who are affected by organ donation. I is my most sincere hope that this can continue to grow and get people to change their perspectives and  register to help save lives.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Week 3

Right now I am sitting and resting in the home of Bill, a pastor from Valley Presbyterian Church in Mesquite, Nevada. I will pass into Arizona tonight. His kindness was a huge help and he gave me a place to rest, shower and have some great food. It was definitely fate that this, the first Presbyterian Church I have gone to (my home church is Presbyterian as well) is right next door to a dialysis and nephrology (kidney doctor) center The days are beginning to blend together so I am looking through my journal to recollect my thoughts and experiences.
   I had such a great time in Vegas exploring and resting up. My good friends Charlit and Melanie showed me around the city including walking up and down the strip and also seeing the Freemont street area. It was nice to have some home cooked meals for once and Melanie's meal was definitely the best thing I've had so far having some leftovers for the road. Both of their families were far beyond kind to me. Charlit's family including his parents Suzy and Charlie and brother Shane were extremely kind and wanted to help me in any way possible. His parents treated me like a son, showing great concern for everything of myself and Charlie said I had a great heart which moved me a lot.I had met Melanie's parents at graduation and to see her dad again was awesome and also an extremely kind-hearted individual. I felt extremely sad leaving Vegas because of how positive an experience it was and I definitely want to go back.
  I also watched the Pacquiao fight which he was clearly the better fighter and I hope that he comes through with the win now that it's under investigation but I extremely admired his attitude postfight, that he did not get angry or upset, was extremely humble about it and that though he felt he won he did not get angry with the judges or anyone. It showed a mark of great character.
  I also had dinner with my friend Mike, whom I met by  Victorville at an awesome all-you-can eat buffet called Sweet Tomatoes. Great food with salad, bread, mac and cheese and I definitely got my fill. I had an awesome time talking to him and his family. He has found a source of goodness which I hope he will continue where he gives socks to the homeless and also a radio. Homeless individuals often do not wear socks because the sweat breaks down the elasticity and causes them to hurt the feet. I believe he said weekly he gives them and allows them to have more comfort. He also gave a windup radio to another individual and it was amazing the transformation it had on the individual. Before this person didn't know the weather so he would get poured on, didn't know the day of the week, and thus felt extremely isolated. However, with the radio it allowed him to feel more connected to the world, and I could just tell the sense of gratitude this individual had towards Mike created positive growth in both of them.
   This blog will probably become more of my interactions with people as that has been the most valuable piece so far and I think also the most interesting for people to read. Over the last few days I slept by the Moapa Plaza and Casino where I met some other amazing individuals as well as in Moapa Town, where upon leaving I met a woman who mentioned her wish for me with this was just to not be too forceful (which I do not plan on doing at all) because previously people had been so to her daughter about organ donation and she said due to medical reasons her daughter is unable to be an organ donor and I promised her I would listen to that.
   I have also learned a lot more about love, and that the purest form of it is the love a parent has for a child. Spending time with people over the past few weeks I have seen this a lot. A child until they reach a certain stage of development, usually in adulthood, due to their naivety and immaturity are incapable of understanding how deep this love goes. I am only now beginning to see it with my own parents whom I have called every day so far.  This love transcends all and can be found everywhere where there are parents and children. Made me think a lot more about loving all people and not desiring any sort of karma against them, because somewhere they have parents who would be devastated by anything poor happening to their son or daughter.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Made it to Vegas

Been just over two weeks since I've started and every day continues to feel surreal. There is a certain continued excitement of not knowing what will happen 5 minutes from now. During the last week I've switched to night runs to avoid much of the desert heat. Starting from Barstow I made it about halfway between there and Baker and stayed at a rest stop. Though the stop only had water and bathrooms (and I did have my own food) the kindness of strangers (while not soliciting anything through their  hearing of what I was doing wished to help) left me with coconut milk, a wonderful woman Evelyn gave me a hot pocket  and a Dr. Pepper, trail mix, carrots, granola bars, and water bottles between there and Baker. I passed Death Valley Road in Baker which was cool to see. Leaving Baker it was very difficult with the terrain going above 4000ft but slowly but surely I made it through and I will have climbs much higher in the future. During the night runs I was stopped several times by the California Highway Patrol all of whom could not be nicer (I apologize you guys received several calls of a maniac on the freeway with a baby but hope we all got a good laugh out of it). Two officers in particular Matthew and Chrissie (hope it's spelled right)  stopped me twice and the second time gave me a gatorade and a California Highway Patrol which I will wear from here out and helped to keep a close eye on me. Post Baker I made it to a gas station by Cima road where I camped by in the Mojave National Presevere and stayed in their shade for the day. After that I went across the state line into Primm. Luckily after covering a lot of the height this was mostly downhill. Saw Primm from miles and miles away, which made me feel it was much closer than it actually was, however I made it ok. The plan was to continue the next night but a severe weather alert for winds and sand being blown, forced me to take off the night for safety. I stayed at whiskey pete's which had an exhibit on Bonnie and Clyde. Crazy enough I found out they died on the same day I started my run (May 23) in Arcadia, La. The next night I went up along a dirt trail next to 15 to Jean and then took the Las Vegas boulevard (which starts all the way by Jean) up to the outskirts of Vegas. Covered more miles on that road then I saw cars so I raced a bit of it right up the middle and had a blast running and walking. Passed out for a power nap on the outskirts of Vegas before heading to the Oasis Church for a power nap very kind people there. Then, I continued up to a Burger King where an awesome guy Kyle and his son Tage reached out to me and invited me to a church service at Valley Bible, an actual bed to sleep at, and a warm shower. Was the best blessing so far (although all have been amazing) to have met them and I got to have Panda express for the first time which was gnarly awesome!) It was great just to spend time with them. Going to chill in Vegas for a couple of days with my great friends from college Charlit and Melanie to rest and see the city, well as meet up with Mike and his family for dinner (met Mike down by Victorville). My first time out here so it will be cool to see the city.
         Everywhere I've gone I've met people affected by organs (either those who are in need of transplants or those who knew those who donated them), it should me how widespread this problem is and the main aspect of this journey, more important than any number of miles, is to help spread the word and save lives. It continues to be my main focus is to be able to discuss it with everyone and get them to register. I hope through this I can do it in any way possible.
      This run continues to change me. I used to believe that the most powerful force on earth is the human will, yet this run has shown me greater than that is the kindness of the human heart. I have continually been given food, donations to help, and a ton of prayers and encouragement. There has been several days where I have almost been moved to tears by people going out of their way to help me. Similarly continually sleeping outside, behind churches or other places has given e an even greater sense of thanks for things as simple as a bed and shower. These things we take for granted on the daily, are rare occurrences for so many people and not knowing when the next will come, makes me appreciate it much more. Everything I have received has caused me to have a much greater desire to help others, so it has become a duty of mine to see if I can help everyone who comes through my life. I don't like the random act of kindness a day mentality where it grows to that people will go out of their way to help one person a day, but I desire to go out and help all, that I sincerely hope every person I see who is in need of help, I may able to do something to alleviate any difficulties.